All you heard about the NYSC orientation camp is probably true. From carrying your box on your head to sitting with your butt on the bare floor while still having your box(es) on your head. To the almost unbearably stressful first 4 days of long queues and stressful preparation for the compulsory swearing in the parade that you wouldn’t escape except you are a nursing mother or a pregnant lady.
To waking up as early as 4:30 am for Man O’ war drill and parade rehearsal, having just gone to bed at 1 am. God, help you if you are the gisting type. That’s if you won’t wake up by 3 am to join the queues in order to get water to bath. Unless you’ll start your day without having your bath. Mind you, your day starts at 4:30am, and the soldiers will ensure you get out of your room with the annoying beagle (I miss that BTW) and splashing water at those trying to catch extra sleep.
After the registration exercise is over. You should begin to the experience the fun at the camp already. Although there’ll be extremely boring facilitating sessions, except you are in lag or some other “alive” place where real motivating speakers will be invited to impact something meaningful apart from the other “there’s no job in Nigeria, come and take a certification in our company to make you employable at a discounted price thanks to NYSC” gist and other NYSC gists, this is where going to camp with a book or a music device stocked with meaningful contents will come in handy.
Note, I mentioned Music device, most likely a ‘palasa’ phone or any other device that will fit in your waist pouch conveniently. You can take your iPad along with you though if you don’t mind losing it. My iPod touch was stolen even with me being all careful just two days to the end of camp.
Let me just highlight some things here.
1. WHATEVER HAPPENS IN CAMP STAYS IN CAMP
I am not sure how true this slogan is. It might be true for Vegas and NYSC if you redeploy from the state after the camping exercise or when every other probability of meeting whoever they are that were involved in one thing or the other with you while in camp is totally severed. But you’ll all agree with me that this world has gotten really small, sooner or later you’ll still meet up somewhere, so be mindful of all you do on camp, it never ends at the gate.
The NYSC orientation camp is a no man’s land. It’s not like Covenant Uni where you will be chased out to chapel service or any averagely religious institution (Muslim inclusive). So you can as well drop all your religious inclination at the gate.
There are various Christian Fellowships on camp, (NCCF – Nigeria Christian Corpers Fellowship, DCCF (Deeper life), NACC (Catholic), RCCF (Redeem)… The surest you’ll see is NCCF and DCCF and NACC but didn’t have the others in camp during my time. All these fellowship bodies hold fellowship meetings daily in camp from the very first day and therefore, I urge you to be a part of one. I became a member of the NCCF having heard so much about it (wasn’t disappointed though and it’s not really denominational), as being part of one of the organizations will help clear your head from the craze all over camp and bring u back on track and as well help prepare you for the rest of the service year.
Before you expect too much from this session, relationship includes both friendship and other forms of connecting.
Take this from me; the kind of company you keep on camp dictates your camp experience, boring, fun, immoral or otherwise.
I mostly hung around people who were my Uni mates even though we didn’t really know one another back in school, still we had a great time together.
Although, a couple of limitations will be placed at your liberty of who to be with due to being put in different platoons and different rooms, as you might not always see those on camp you knew prior to the exercise. You’ll spend more time with your platoon members. Also, camp is just for 21 days, so no time for 21 Laws of making highly effective friends, just saying.
I met wonderful people during my own camping experience who have made indelible marks in my life, one is Miss Pelumi, though we went to same uni, we hardly ever said 5 good mornings in our 5 years of being in the same department. She inspired a great deal on my blog, the creator of the “DAMAGED” series, she also wrote the first episode, thats just to mention one out of the so many, Donald, Yinka, Cecilia, AY, Seyi, Fola, Jibola, Bunmi, Dayo, Ayomide, Tinuke…
Make more connections on camp, meet new people and build viable relationships with them, you don’t know where next you’ll meet them or of what importance they can be to you sometime in the future, and who knows, your soul mate might just be on camp, but don’t be fooled. (You’ll definitely want to read NYSC CAMP GIST: I HAD A DREAM OF US. An experience I had in camp to all relationship desperate ladies.)
I must add, to the ladies that want to avoid “boy pressure”, better stay in the company of your girl friends or better still have “an handbag”, by that I mean a guy friend who those guy see and be like a scare crow 😉
4. CAMP ACTIVITIES
There’s no idle moment throughout your 21 days in camp, except sunday morning till early sunday evening. But apart from that, there is one activity, event, seminar or the other all through camp. Most of which are fun after the swearing exercise.
Platoon sport tournaments (soccer and volley ball, no basket ball on my camp), pageantry (Miss NYSC, Mr Macho, Mr Dubic, Miss Smirnoff, Miss Guiness, had a lot I lost track of on my camp), inter-platoon drama, music, dancing, cooking…competitions.
Please try and be involved in at least one thing before camp is over, for most people I interacted with, even though having almost wanting to bail out the first week of camp cos of stress, wished camp was extended beyond 21 days as it got really fun towards the end, but camp will be extremely boring with no memory to hold on to if you don’t get involve, if you don’t mix up. But in all, don’t overdo and be wise.
5. EAR PLUG
This was suppose to be the third in the series of the post I wrote after my camping exercise.
Camp is noisy! By noisy, I don’t mean people screaming up and down but saturated with too many, too many gossip in the room, too many dirty talks among friends, OBS (Orientation Broadcasting Service) unending music broadcast, most of which I wasn’t content with.
NB: To all my “non-secular” music folks, I promise you that you’ll know all the latest Naija hits almost word for word before camp is over. Gospel songs are only for Sunday mornings, and yes mornings, cos by 12 noon, OBS resume secular playlist unending till next sunday. Thus the need for an ear plug, my ipod and ear piece were my best friends on camp, always having them on, except during parade rehearsals, but still I knew all them Wizzy and OBO hits, quite entertaining I must confess. Anyways, arguing their rightness or wrongness is not the purpose of this post.
Go with an earpiece, go with a book or two, go with a note pad for my fellow writers and bloggers (you’ll see a lot you’ll want to capture in ink).
6. MAMMI MARKET
This is an integral part of camp, this is where all the buying and selling happens, this is also where most action happens, apart from few at some dark isolated corners.
What can I say about Mammi?
For those that don’t like food cooked en mass, mammi will be waiting to feast on your wallet. You’ll get the commonest, Noodles and fried egg, but you will find every possible delicacy you want, as I had “Mama Calabar in my Oyo camp”, so no worry about chow, as there are spots for all classes of people there, from common 250 Naira a plate, to expensive dishes, but u can still go with light provisions.
If you don’t eat/drink something before going to camp, don’t out of trying avoid being termed “old-school” or whatever do “follow follow”. A lot of drama at my camp’s Palmwine’s joint, talkless of bars.
Anyways enough said.
General advice from my friends:
• Stay true to who you are. A lot go to camp and become somebody else. A guy went mad ( o ya were in yoruba) in my camp for smoking weed for the first time. Enough getting drunk, had that every night in my room. Camp fire night is the height.
• Yeah, no ATM machine on most camps, but I got an NCCF executive to help with my cash withdrawals as they can be trusted. It’s not adviceable to keep a lot of cash. And when you are given your first allowance towards the end of camp, keep it well.
• Camping is a three weeks exercise which practically is like a waste of time. But to those who know the value of their time, it can be well invested. Then there are a lot of distractions right there in the camp so be careful about how they affect you. Joining NCCF as soon as one gets to camp is important. As that’s the only place with guaranteed opportunity to fellowship with the brethren everyday. Keeping of properties properly is part of it as you don’t know where others are coming from, they are not all saints. For those who have very expensive gadgets, they should be left behind at home. The camp is not a place to show off as one will be putting the gadgets at risk. I’m sure Mr. Tolu has said it all. – Bello Akinwunmi (@_Don_Ak)
• Don’t be in a hurry to make buying decisions or to sign up for anything. There’s really nothing that ends on the camp including the ‘fun’ that seems to present itself like sudden fresh air. It’s just an initial reminder that undergrad life is over but that fact too will remain for the rest of your life.
If you’re serving in a State you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t bother trying to influence your posting. You’ll be surprised where would turn out good for you. The State capital is not even always the best local government
Err.. also, you know how final year seemed to fly past? Service year is shorter than that. Let that thought guide you in choosing what your time goes into. – Miss Tolulope Kumuy (@tolukumuyi)
In conclusion, more like a reminder. Roll with the right company. Don’t over form. Try to enjoy camp. Be yourself, meet people and lastly have fun.
To those who will take these bits of advice. May God help you. To those with stupid heads. May God help you. Just remembered a girl in my camp that got drunk and was screaming, asking for penis. Another confessed all the secrets she held in her heart about her past, mother… and a friend that turned into an unstoppable music box from the power of the spiked punch, he still doesn’t remember till date..lool…
Incase of any question, kindly post it as a comment and I’ll reply swiftly.
The beauty of this post is not just in knowing, but helping others know, kindly share the link with everybody going to camp. Thank you.
Other NYSC related posts:
NYSC CAMP GIST: I HAD A DREAM OF US
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